Just how safe is Covid-19 vaccination for young children?

By David L K See

I refer to plans to vaccinate some 300,000 children aged 5 – 11: "S'pore setting up paediatric vaccination centres; one can jab 1,000 children a day" (Straits Times, Dec 16).

I am a 74-year old tertiary-educated Singaporean who is blessed with many grand-nephews and grand-nieces from this age group. They make me feel young.

Our children are our future. Never “play tikam tikam” with their precious health and lives — whether during National Service peacetime training or a disease pandemic.

I take great umbrage at misguided public officials who are knee-jerk quick to label well-meaning feedback as “anti-vaccination fake news”.

An important reminder: Vaccination is irreversible. Once the vaccine is injected into your young child, there is no changing course.

Vaccination is also never a 100% cure-all tool to fight Covid-19. Other equally important tools include masking, hand-hygiene and social distancing.

Parents are entitled to truthful answers, substantiated with full facts and figures, to help them both make “informed decisions” and subsequently give their “informed consent” wherever necessary. Merely stating “The vaccine is safe. The benefits outweigh the risks.” is an easy lazy way out that will never earn public respect nor trust.

The buck of convincing parents was conveniently passed down to Junior Minister Janil Puthucheary who did an unconvincing job.

He confidently declared that American trials found no cases of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation) or pericarditis (inflammation around heart) in the 5 – 11 age group.

The following day, he was contradicted by an American CDC announcement of 8 reported cases (so far) of myocarditis in children aged 5 – 11 who took the Pfizer vaccine.

During the Raeesah Khan lengthy saga, Workers Party politicians were constantly reminded to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Likewise, concerned parents are impatiently waiting for a whole-truth high-level joint response by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung and Covid-19 Vaccination Expert Committee Chairman Dr Benjamin Ong at a MTF televised session to convincingly address all remaining unanswered questions.

The Pfizer paediatric vaccine is newly developed. How effective is it? What are the known possible side effects, and their “possible long-term implications” for the health of a growing young child?

Singapore parents must not “feel pressured” but be completely free to decide for themselves whether to vaccinate their young children based on “informed consent”. Will unvaccinated children be stigmatised or penalised by deplorably divisive vaccination-differentiated curbs?


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